Huge going out of business sale at County Hall?

First published in Skipper

IT’S an important week at County Hall, with an extraordinary meeting of Cornwall Council’s cabinet tomorrow (Thursday) due to consider some truly scary numbers about its budget.

Following months of “consultation” (a whistle-stop tour of out of the way village halls at odd times of the day) the ruling Liberal Democrat-Independent coalition is recommending that council tax should go up by 1.97 per cent – not just next year, but every year, until 2019.

While Skipper does not enjoy paying council tax any more than anyone else, the money for essential public services has to come from somewhere and the proposed increase is below the current rate of inflation. The budget will therefore mean services must be reduced even further.

The budget report explains that on top of the £170 million “savings” (the word “cuts” is now politically incorrect) agreed in 2010, the council is now anticipating a further 15 per cent reduction in central government funding from 2015. The report also forecasts an immediate budget shortfall of £23.9 million next year, rising to £196 million in 2018.

These insights are truly supernatural, because unless the mandarins at County Hall know something denied to the rest of us, there is due to be a general election in or before May 2015 and central government policies therefore, potentially, might change.

Consider what the council used to do, but to a large extent doesn’t do any more: public toilets, leisure centres, housing, schools, and libraries which are just about clinging on but which now don’t open as frequently as they used to. The budget report says: “That the Council would consider any service delivery method that achieved the best outcomes and value for money rather than follow any set ideology, with no model ruled out from consideration.”

It is hard to avoid the impression that what is going on at the moment is little more than a huge Closing Down Sale, with the council effectively voting itself out of existence for any purpose other than holding meetings for its 123 members. Clearly, this sale must end before 2015 and is ideologically-driven. It is, apparently, what we voted for in May and is called “politics.” And obviously, one thing that must never be considered for reduction is the number of councillors.

Meanwhile, far away, in another part of the County Hall building, another group of councillors meet today (Wednesday) to consider an annual budget of £0.5 million to promote the Cornish language for the next three years.

Skipper was at most of the “consultation” meetings and does not recall one single voice, in any language, being raised to spend taxpayers’ money in this way.

Comments (7)

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9:30pm Mon 18 Nov 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

Spend money promoting the Cornish language!, in a tourist reliant county, how helpful will that be for welcoming the German, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin etc speaking tourists. Why spend money learning a language of some use when you can spend money learning a hobby language like Cornish. Perhaps Cornwall Council should spend money resurrecting the tin mines and invite the smugglers back to the Jamaica Inn.
Spend money promoting the Cornish language!, in a tourist reliant county, how helpful will that be for welcoming the German, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin etc speaking tourists. Why spend money learning a language of some use when you can spend money learning a hobby language like Cornish. Perhaps Cornwall Council should spend money resurrecting the tin mines and invite the smugglers back to the Jamaica Inn. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 6

12:15am Sun 1 Dec 13

sensiblekernow says...

It's not to spend an annual budget of half a million pounds. of council tax payers money, as you well know. Facts don't make great headlines I guess! Think of it another way, the moneys actually £ 100k pounds, so our ancient language is worth less to the council than 6 months of the CEOs salary (minus expenses etc.)
It's not to spend an annual budget of half a million pounds. of council tax payers money, as you well know. Facts don't make great headlines I guess! Think of it another way, the moneys actually £ 100k pounds, so our ancient language is worth less to the council than 6 months of the CEOs salary (minus expenses etc.) sensiblekernow
  • Score: -12

12:34am Sun 1 Dec 13

LanceD says...

Once again Skipper get's his facts wrong - CC is not going to spend £500k on the Cornish Language it is near £100k with the balance from the EU.
We are in Cornwall and we have a language - let's celebrate that. More people each year are learning Cornish and it is another way to celebrate Kernow and out heritage - surely something to be proud of?
Did a little deeper and there are schemes like the incinerator project planned at St Dennis which will cost some £300m+ on an outmoded technology which will reduce true recycling.
Yes, Skipper savings can be made but celebrating the Cornish language is not one!
Once again Skipper get's his facts wrong - CC is not going to spend £500k on the Cornish Language it is near £100k with the balance from the EU. We are in Cornwall and we have a language - let's celebrate that. More people each year are learning Cornish and it is another way to celebrate Kernow and out heritage - surely something to be proud of? Did a little deeper and there are schemes like the incinerator project planned at St Dennis which will cost some £300m+ on an outmoded technology which will reduce true recycling. Yes, Skipper savings can be made but celebrating the Cornish language is not one! LanceD
  • Score: -10

10:04am Sun 1 Dec 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

I believe money could be saved as the recycling rate in Cornwall could be dramatically improved if those responsible within Cornwall Council addressed some of the problems. Many people are simply not recycling due to lack of storage space for the ridiculous amount of unhelpfully shaped receptacles. In addition to which I believe Cornwall Council seem unable to press the contractors to resolve the issue of leaving a percentage of recycling products all over the road and in people's receptacles. Giving the contract to the lowest tender does not always come to fruition long term. Many other counties have a much higher success rate at recycling and yet still have an incinerator, this I suggest is because the contractors used, provide a much more resident friendly way of collection, by means of far more practical recycling containers.

I suggest even more money could be saved by Cornwall Council if they halted the practice of allowing purchases of iPhones, I pads etc.
If they had left the temporary Chief Executive Officer in place as opposed to advertising the position at a higher rate of pay and subsequently employing a new Chief Executive Officer who by the freedom of information act would I suggest have to admit to already having purchased some hi tech 'toys' from Cornwall Councils budget this additionally could have saved some money perhaps.

In my view the Skipper is right, the amount of money proposed to spend promoting the Cornish Language is irrelevant, in the current economic climate, no money at all should be spent on it. Trying telling someone who's adult or children's care services have been slashed that they can have help learning the Cornish language.
Yes, I am Cornish.
I believe money could be saved as the recycling rate in Cornwall could be dramatically improved if those responsible within Cornwall Council addressed some of the problems. Many people are simply not recycling due to lack of storage space for the ridiculous amount of unhelpfully shaped receptacles. In addition to which I believe Cornwall Council seem unable to press the contractors to resolve the issue of leaving a percentage of recycling products all over the road and in people's receptacles. Giving the contract to the lowest tender does not always come to fruition long term. Many other counties have a much higher success rate at recycling and yet still have an incinerator, this I suggest is because the contractors used, provide a much more resident friendly way of collection, by means of far more practical recycling containers. I suggest even more money could be saved by Cornwall Council if they halted the practice of allowing purchases of iPhones, I pads etc. If they had left the temporary Chief Executive Officer in place as opposed to advertising the position at a higher rate of pay and subsequently employing a new Chief Executive Officer who by the freedom of information act would I suggest have to admit to already having purchased some hi tech 'toys' from Cornwall Councils budget this additionally could have saved some money perhaps. In my view the Skipper is right, the amount of money proposed to spend promoting the Cornish Language is irrelevant, in the current economic climate, no money at all should be spent on it. Trying telling someone who's adult or children's care services have been slashed that they can have help learning the Cornish language. Yes, I am Cornish. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 10

9:21am Mon 2 Dec 13

sensiblekernow says...

I didn't really mind if we have the debate about whether Cornish or any other language/ culture has money spent on it in this time of austerity, indeed we should be. I do however take exception to hyperbole to make this case, as shown by the Skipper, it's not an annual budget, it's not 500,000 of Cornwall Council's money, 4/5s of it we wouldn't see had the vote gone the other way and somewhere else would benefit from it.

It's only 100,000, I know only I know it's a lot if money but consider how much that would buy you for another language? Consider how much say French teachers cost the ratepayer or German teachers? Fact is we spend millions every year on teaching foreign languages (quite rightly too) but yet a tiny fraction on Cornish and editors minds go into overdrive. I'm just saying some perspective is needed.
I didn't really mind if we have the debate about whether Cornish or any other language/ culture has money spent on it in this time of austerity, indeed we should be. I do however take exception to hyperbole to make this case, as shown by the Skipper, it's not an annual budget, it's not 500,000 of Cornwall Council's money, 4/5s of it we wouldn't see had the vote gone the other way and somewhere else would benefit from it. It's only 100,000, I know only I know it's a lot if money but consider how much that would buy you for another language? Consider how much say French teachers cost the ratepayer or German teachers? Fact is we spend millions every year on teaching foreign languages (quite rightly too) but yet a tiny fraction on Cornish and editors minds go into overdrive. I'm just saying some perspective is needed. sensiblekernow
  • Score: -6

4:22pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

sensiblekernow wrote:
I didn't really mind if we have the debate about whether Cornish or any other language/ culture has money spent on it in this time of austerity, indeed we should be. I do however take exception to hyperbole to make this case, as shown by the Skipper, it's not an annual budget, it's not 500,000 of Cornwall Council's money, 4/5s of it we wouldn't see had the vote gone the other way and somewhere else would benefit from it.

It's only 100,000, I know only I know it's a lot if money but consider how much that would buy you for another language? Consider how much say French teachers cost the ratepayer or German teachers? Fact is we spend millions every year on teaching foreign languages (quite rightly too) but yet a tiny fraction on Cornish and editors minds go into overdrive. I'm just saying some perspective is needed.
I understand your point, however, I wasn't really suggesting that any amount of financial input from Cornwall Council should be applied for the learning facilities for any language, be that Cornish, French or whatever, apart from what is already catered for within the schools curriculum. I speak English, Flemish and a little German, the cost was negligible, the price of a dictionary. Whilst it would be nice to promote Cornish, I just think in the present economic climate there are other things that should take priority, if people wish to learn Cornish what is wrong with expecting them to finance the ability so to do, themselves, in the same way many people have to finance other subjects of chosen learning at evening classes or after school classes.
[quote][p][bold]sensiblekernow[/bold] wrote: I didn't really mind if we have the debate about whether Cornish or any other language/ culture has money spent on it in this time of austerity, indeed we should be. I do however take exception to hyperbole to make this case, as shown by the Skipper, it's not an annual budget, it's not 500,000 of Cornwall Council's money, 4/5s of it we wouldn't see had the vote gone the other way and somewhere else would benefit from it. It's only 100,000, I know only I know it's a lot if money but consider how much that would buy you for another language? Consider how much say French teachers cost the ratepayer or German teachers? Fact is we spend millions every year on teaching foreign languages (quite rightly too) but yet a tiny fraction on Cornish and editors minds go into overdrive. I'm just saying some perspective is needed.[/p][/quote]I understand your point, however, I wasn't really suggesting that any amount of financial input from Cornwall Council should be applied for the learning facilities for any language, be that Cornish, French or whatever, apart from what is already catered for within the schools curriculum. I speak English, Flemish and a little German, the cost was negligible, the price of a dictionary. Whilst it would be nice to promote Cornish, I just think in the present economic climate there are other things that should take priority, if people wish to learn Cornish what is wrong with expecting them to finance the ability so to do, themselves, in the same way many people have to finance other subjects of chosen learning at evening classes or after school classes. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 5

12:35am Wed 4 Dec 13

molesworth says...

Don't get me started. It's totally ridiculous spending money on promoting or teaching ( what will the money be used for?) the Cornish language. Especially when we have families having to use free food banks. The language is DEAD. It's just a hobby for some or academic curiosity for others. I'm Cornish and I sometimes wonder if these what I call 'professional Cornishmen' who love talking about how we Cornish are constantly victimised by 'outsiders' in one way or another just need another cause to get worked up about.
Don't get me started. It's totally ridiculous spending money on promoting or teaching ( what will the money be used for?) the Cornish language. Especially when we have families having to use free food banks. The language is DEAD. It's just a hobby for some or academic curiosity for others. I'm Cornish and I sometimes wonder if these what I call 'professional Cornishmen' who love talking about how we Cornish are constantly victimised by 'outsiders' in one way or another just need another cause to get worked up about. molesworth
  • Score: 7

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